Author: Ihara Saikaku (completed by John Glassco)
The Pederast and The Samurai... Are The Same Man!
About: Here, in an anthology of exquisite tales about a rarely discussed side of the Samurai, the struggles of the flesh within an ancient and unrelenting code of honor are depicted as only the Japanese know--action-filled, erotic; a glimpse into a forbidden world ruled by the sword and the phallus.
Additional: Based on source tales from the same Saikaku material that Tuttle Publishing derived its "Comrade Loves of the Samurai" from. This peculiar edition supposedly derives more immediately from a hilariously bad, clandestine publication of a 1928 translation, largely of Saikaku's "Glorious Tales of Pederasty." However, in view of Glassco's unique talents, as poet and author of the Victorian-fake extraordinary The English Governess and Fetish Girl, it's quite likely the book emerged more from the pen of Glassco himself, than from anything Saikaku wrote. Owing to the extreme difficulty people have had in finding the title, the Olympia Press is proud to offer this work of gay erotica for all the scholars out there.
The night was the sixth of November. It was rather dark, since there
was no moon. They crossed the river Kamo by the faint reflected lights
of glittering stars in the far-off sky. When they reached the bank they
saw a man sitting serenely on a rock. He was wrapped in a wasted
overcoat, with an old reed hat on his head. He held an incense burner
in his sleeve. He looked quite composed and peaceful.
Toshikiyo asked him, “Dear stranger, why are you alone in such a
place so late in the evening?”
The delicious odor of the incense the Shogun had smelt came from this
The stranger answered quietly, “Oh, I am simply listening to the
singing plovers of the river Kamo.”
Toshikiyo was quite impressed by this answer. To listen to plovers at
such a place and so late on a cold autumn evening, the man had to
possess a very refined culture. He could not be an ordinary
common-class man. Toshikiyo said to him in a more polite way this time,
“Pardon, sir, my curiosity. I came by the order of my lord the Shogun
Yoshimasa to see who is burning such an exquisite incense on such a
night. Would you mind telling me, dear sir, who you are?”
The man replied, “I am not a priest who has forsaken all worldly
things for Buddha, but I am not an ordinary man either. I am a Wanderer
without any settled abode. I am now more than sixty-three years old.
Yet both my feet are quite steady, and I can walk freely.” And he rose
to his feet and began going towards the pine trees on the river bank.
The answer was very simple yet full of hidden meanings of the old
man's character. Toshikiyo was impressed still more deeply, and he
asked again, “As I said before, I would like to know the name of the
incense you are burning. Please tell me its name. I must inform my lord
“What a bore you are,” said the old man, “to bother me with such
trifles! But if your lord is so enthusiastic for incenses, let him have
this stick, though there is not much left now. Here it is.” And he went
Toshikiyo returned to Yoshimasa with the incense and the burner. And
he related all the details about the stranger. The poetical behavior of
the old man appealed very deeply to the refined heart of the Shogun,
who made search for him all over Kyoto Capital. But no trace of the man
could be found. The Shogun was sorry he could not speak to the strange
man, and he kept the incense and the burner as precious treasures. He
named the incense “The Singing Plover”. Soon the strange story spread
among his courtiers.